The Week Behind: Cold!

Saturday: A quiet morning at home that passed quickly. This afternoon I went off to Macon to Bess' Baby Sprinkle. John encouraged me to download an app called WAZE which led me along odd back roads but talked me through the whole ride. That was fine...but when I arrived WAZE didn't stop talking. In fact, it began to tell me every single touch on my phone screen and every move I made and chattered at me constantly. I'm afraid my first words at the door were "Where's Bess?! I need her to fix my phone!" It eluded her and we ended up cutting off the phone entirely while I was at the party.

I was pretty sure I could find my way home easily going another route and I did so without any problems or prompts from the phone. However, once I got home and started to exit the car the silly thing began chattering away all over again. This is something that has happened with my phone before and John went right to work to stop it...and for future reference, I put notes on a file in my phone so I can fix this problem myself if it should ever occur again.

I made hot dogs and baked beans for supper which was quick to put together. I served with a side of peaches and graham crackers.

Sunday: It's turning off cold once more. I'm not sorry. Peaches! That's what I hope to see this summer. I know we need these cold hours to set the buds for the spring. Besides, no winter generally means late frosts which ruin peach crops and other crops, as well.

We've plugged in our pumphouse light to keep the pump from freezing. We were premature. We plugged it in on Saturday thinking that night was to go below freezing but it didn't. It will tonight though!

We stopped at the grocery on our way home from church. I wanted some of the carrageenan free sour cream and cottage cheese that was on sale. John wanted to get treats for Katie's big old German shepherd. He won her over years ago with those treats and he was determined to bring her some when we visited today.

We stopped to visit Katie, the children and the dog whom we've not seen in nearly two years. She's such a lovely dog. My children like BIG dogs but they have such sweet natures and love their respective family deeply. Taylor was a bit shy about us visiting her at Katie's. She is much more outgoing when she comes here for some reason, lol.

Katie made us coffee. It was awfully nice since we'd just come in from the cold.

John washed a full load of clothes when we came in. He hung most all of them outdoors to dry. It was cool, but the wind snapped those clothes dry in just a couple of hours.

I ran a full load of dishes.

I made myself a cup of hot cocoa. I used 1 teaspoon each of sugar and cocoa powder. It was enough cocoa powder but not quite enough sugar. I'm experimenting you see.

Packed John's work lunch for tomorrow.

We had omelets and toast for our supper tonight with a sliced orange.

Monday: Saw John off early this morning. Then I went to the living room where I turned on the propane heater and I caught up on the You Tube vloggers I follow until I saw I daylight outside the windows. That means it's time to start the work of the day.

Stripped our bed and bath, gathered all the extra items I could find, then stripped the slipcovers from the living room chairs and washed two full loads of laundry. I filled our line and drying rack full then employed the dryer for the rest of the laundry.

I have three gallery type walls of pictures in my home. All three have bothered me of late with slightly off arrangements. I corrected two of those walls today and was very pleased indeed with how they came out.

Made up our bed with fresh linens and put the new sheets on the guest bed. Very pleased with how well they go with our current comforter on that bed.

Gave the house a good going over and made everything look spic and span.

Pulled a single serve entre from the freezer to have for my dinner.

I kept the propane heater burning until nearly 2pm this afternoon and the heat pump still came on routinely until well past 1pm today.

I fought off the cold afternoon with a cup of hot tea and a slice of my homemade fruitcake.

Treated myself to watching 'Anne with an e'. There's a new season available now and I want to remember what went before.

I pulled a Mongolian Beef/Rice/Broccoli dish from the freezer and heated for lunch. For supper, Cheese toast and hot cocoa.

Tuesday: I was up early again this morning, though not at 5:30am. Before I went to bed last night I took a gallon of milk and a chicken breast from the freezer. Both were still frozen solid this morning.

I put on the propane heater and just like yesterday it ran until about 2pm today. When I went to pick up Josh from the bus stop I had to put the heater on in the car. It's odd to look at the temperature at noon and see it still hovering in the '30s. Peaches!

I put the frozen chicken into the crockpot. I added in the last of the jar of salsa, the last of that bottle of V-8, onions, corn, black and dark red kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, garlic and some of that chicken/tomato bouillon and cumin. I left it to cook all morning long and then added rice in the last hour. I won't do that next time I don't think. I'd like it better without the rice, though I'd not mind topping the rice with the stew. This cooked up very thick and just those few ingredients and that one chicken breast made enough for our supper and Sam and Bess' family to have supper tonight, plus enough leftovers to make a second meal for us.

I made blueberry muffins for breakfast and added lemon zest to the batter. Gosh! that lemon smelled so very good. I topped the baked muffins with a lemon glaze. It was lovely, like having a bite of summer. I had enough muffins left to give Josh one after school. He's always so sweet. "Can you send one home for Isaac?" he asked. And later he said "Gramma can I get an orange? And can Isaac have one too?" Not many children are so thoughtful about their sibling, but then I must remind myself that my own were always very mindful of wanting to bring something home for Katie whenever they went away from home without her. I sent Josh home with four muffins, one for each of them so nobody was left out, and two oranges.

After John got settled in this morning I went off to the guest room to work. I guess I might not have worked on this room in a good long while. It looked neat enough, but I soon had a trash bag filled, a box full of donations and then I emptied the boxes of books I had put up for donating to the women's club...BIG mistake. At this point I went backwards. I'd had three boxes taped up to donate. I now have two boxes to donate, lol. I set aside a few items to give to others, including a few books.

My decluttering paid off. In the end, I emptied the chifforobe. If we have guests now they will only have to contend with a small basket of baby toys I set aside for Caleb and Millie when they reach the stage of playing with them.

As I worked in the kitchen this morning, John made me a pot of Twinings Peppermint Tea. Golly but that was good! He suggested I look for some of the chamomile or sleepy time teas and see if they work for me. I will say, I'd had a niggling headache but once I had that tea, it completely disappeared.

I made cornbread this evening. I topped the Southwestern Chicken stew with sour cream and cheese. This tasted really good and was most welcome as a hot supper on a chilly winter night.

Wednesday: I turned down the heat pump as we went to bed last night. I do this because with the colder temperatures, the heat is more prone to come on and never cycle off. Turning it down means it doesn't work as hard to maintain temperatures that are higher. I only lower by about 5 degrees but it really does make a difference.

When John got up this morning he turned on the propane heater...He did not turn up the heat pump. For some reason, I'm the only one in the house who can turn things up or down, lol. Well it works fine for us this way. The heat or air is set where I deem it is most efficient to run.

Housework was soon knocked out. I realized I had an empty box and boxed up some more of the items that I'd decluttered in the guest room yesterday.

John went outdoors and I settled to work clipping coupons, putting things away in the house, bringing in the gas bill that the propane man left us, and prepping for tonight's dinner.

John came in and chatted to me just as I sat down at the desk to do my math work. We talked about many things, as we tend to do: finances, random things about house or yard, grandchildren, cars, etc.

I was ready to settle down to the computer today when John asked if I was willing to go with him to get car tires. Well sure...The tire place is behind a shopping center that has a Tuesday morning and I'd been thinking it was time to go visit that store. I usually go about once a year. No, no one is ever going to get rich off my shopping trips, few and far between them as they are.

I put away the things I'd left out from my meal prep and got busy putting on my makeup and getting dressed.

Today I wore the dark wash jeans, the grey chenille sweater over the maroon long sleeved t-shirt (with a tank top underneath as an added layer) and the pretty pale grey with tiny floral challis scarf. This is the first time I've worn that sweater since last year. I found two holes in it...I bought it brand new! And there were two holes, not huge but not tiny either. The sweater is a 14/16 but looks like a 22/24 on me, the sleeves are wide. This is going to become an around the house piece, I think. I can mend the holes but once again, it's discovering what works and what doesn't. Ill-fitting does not work for me.

We love our mail lady who runs the route most often. She is so good to bring packages up to the house. Today we'd just checked the mail and when we pulled out of the drive she was coming down the road to our drive. John stopped and walked back to pick up the mail and spoke with her briefly.

Today's mail brought out local paper, which we can read in about five minutes but it's very informative about county matters and that's why we get it. We also got our electric bill which was less than last month but our usage was 40kwh higher than the same time period last year (Dec. usage) and our gas credit card bill. We do not carry a balance on that credit card (or any other). We long ago decided that while we liked the convenience of having a gas card, we'd write each transaction down as though we'd paid cash. Come bill time, this is one we look at and don't panic. The money is in there and we know it.

John went in to the tire place and I walked over to Tuesday morning as I'd planned. I looked at everything. Every.thing. I touched a good bit of the items I really wanted to look over but touching doesn't mean buying. As I handle an item I ask myself questions about it: Why do I like this? Doe sit go with my room? Is it my style? Is it the right size? Would I be comfortable purchasing this item for the price? For instance, I knew I was looking for a few small, pretty plant pots. They had several pots but the ones I'd like were pricey for what they were (a plastic pot for $6.99? Noooo) or they were the perfect size but the color was all wrong (a second No to bright yellow). Do I like the way it feels? Does it fit a need? Am I settling or do I really like this? You'd be surprised how my questions will quickly eliminate a purchase.

What did I buy today? Slippers, which are something I've been wanting for a couple of years now. These are the least offensive looking and they are cozy warm. A pretty little notebook for my purse. I often want a piece of paper to jot down a quick memo, or to have a ready list before I walk into a store. A baby doll for the children to play with if they like. With a new baby in two families I hope that someone will want to play they are a mama or daddy. Tea. A box of Twinings samples. My box has the Calm Night, Chamomile, Raspberry Pomegranate, and another herbal I can't think of right at the moment. I liked that it was just a box of samples so I wasn't stuck with a whole box of something I loathed. Dishcloths. Whenever I see Aqua colored (or pattern) kitchen towels, cloths and hot pads, I buy them. I have a drawer in the kitchen where I stash new linens to replace those that get terribly worn or dingy looking. That's it. That's what I was ready to purchase today.

We went by the credit union and took the tire money from there then drove over to the bank to make a deposit.

John suggested we get supper. I could have cooked when we got home and had every intention of it but I knew he was really hungry. I suggested a ready made meal at a restaurant. Well what he really wanted was a frozen pizza and to come home. Ok. By this point we'd wasted nearly an hour going to the grocery in another town that was not on the way home, wandered around the store a bit and boy did I fight impulse spending there...But in the end, we got our pizza, corn dogs for Friday night when the boys are here and headed home. We didn't get dinner ready until nearly 7pm. And we'll have the dinner I'd prepped but hadn't cooked tomorrow night. John paid for tonight's pizza out of his pocket so I'm not complaining.

Thursday: I woke with a headache this morning, so I was glad that it was a day which required low participation and very light household chores. And praises sung for the meal prep I did yesterday for that postponed dinner. Yes indeed.

John washed a small load of clothes. I did a rather full load of dishes but it wasn't plates and such, it was pots and pans and coffee cups and that sort of thing.

I pushed to get through my math work but I gave up doing anything else entirely following that. Some days it's just best to give in to the ick and rest.

Our dinner today was Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken breasts, Asparagus and Green Pea Casserole and a Green Salad.

Friday: Oops too quick sending that one out!
Went into town this morning to get some Mozzarella cheese which I'd forgotten this past pay period.
Of course, I bought more. I got bananas (other stores looked dismal on the banana front these past two weeks) and picked up two packages of marked down ground beef to add to my homemade spaghetti sauce. I rummaged the clearance priced items in the shopping cart in the middle of the produce aisle and scored three chocolate cake mixes for $1 each. I make all my cakes from scratch but to date have not found a keeper chocolate cake recipe. Those will go into the pantry.

On our way to town we picked up mail, stopped to put out the trash, and John went by the parts store to get something he needed.

Once home, I cooked the beef, and mixed with homemade sauce. I made a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna which we'll eat Saturday and Sunday and then put leftovers in the freezer...and a loaf pan of lasagna for a meal for two at another time. I also mixed up a chocolate cake as a surprise for the boys for after supper tonight.

Cleared fridge of other leftovers and put them into marked containers in the freezer then added to my freezer inventory list.

The boys are coming to spend the night tonight. We're having corn dogs and chips for supper followed by chocolate cake. They love taking part in Shabat candle lighting. I promised Josh they could sleep under the dining room table. I plan to cover it with sheets so they are enclosed. They are bringing their sleeping bags. I'll try to keep them up until 8 or 9 but that's a far stretch for Josh on a school day.

What did you do to save money this week?
(C) Terri Cheney